It’s been a while, but I’m glad to be back writing another LGBTQ+ biweekly newsletter. Although “glad” feels like a strange word to use in this context, especially considering the current state of affairs. But this newsletter reminds me of community, of purpose, and of the profound power in facing facts, rather than burying our heads in the sand.
With that, let’s get to it.
The GOP’s Genocidal Plans
While the tenth stage of genocide is Denial, we often don’t realize we are in the process of a genocide until Stage 8, Persecution, or 9, Extermination. Yet, we can recall the Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles stating that he was not calling for the genocide of trans people when he said we need to “eradicate transgenderism” because “transgenderism does not exist.” This denial of humanity falls within Stage 4, Dehumanization.
I’m going to review the first seven stages of genocide so we can take stock in what’s really going on here. This is terrifying. This will be hard to conceive of, but it’s that much more important to face it, so that we are informed, so that we can act.
🏳️🌈 Stages 1 & 2: Classification and Symbolization — This is the classic “us vs. them” approach to group mentality. LGBTQ+ people have been othered for centuries, and we’re seeing the symbols that represent them (flags, books, clothes, discourse) banned from schools and elsewhere. According to the Texas Observer, we’re even seeing transphobic dress-code mandates pop up in Texas and elsewhere.
🏳️🌈 Stage 3: Discrimination — This stage is one we’ve been perpetually stuck in. We are seeing bathroom mandates and drag show bans in Florida and across the country (Florida Phoenix). We are also seeing trans athletes being blocked from playing sports in Arizona, (Arizona Mirror), Ohio (The Buckeye Flame), and elsewhere. These latter efforts were met with an appeasing move by President Biden, who will allow for this sort of discrimination on a “case-by-case” basis, according to The Nation.
🏳️🌈 Stage 4: Dehumanization — Michael Knowles’ comments are glaring in this stage. The right’s rallying around him, along with those with similar views, strips humanity from trans people, making it easier to dismiss their needs, desires, health, and safety. Gender-affirming healthcare bans, like the one described by Kansas Reflector, and restrictions enforce the idea that trans people do not need life-saving healthcare—a Constitutional right—which undermines their status as human beings.
🏳️🌈 Stage 5: Organization — We’re bearing witness to these organized attacks via our own government and lobbyist groups, according to The New Republic. The bans on gender-affirming healthcare, especially those that force people to detransition, are direct plans for organizing genocide. As we see bills pass, we’re watching others get introduced that will hinder the lives of LGBTQ+ folks across the nation. In Florida, a bill is being voted on that would make it legal to remove trans children from affirming homes (The Humanist Report).
🏳️🌈 Stage 6: Polarization — The disinformation campaigns associated with transphobic and anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric are present throughout all stages, but the onslaught of aggressive propaganda surrounding gender-affirming care, trans athletes, drag shows, and other queer topics is working to push people deeper into the “us v. them” mentality. Such disinformation can look like Glenn Beck comparing trans-affirming doctors to Nazi doctors (The Majority Report), but it can be much less obvious, too. Season 2 of TransLash’s podcast “The Anti-Trans Hate Machine: A Plot Against Equality,” “focuses on the disinformation ecosystem constructed by the Christian Nationalist movement, anti-trans lies are laundered through some of the biggest and most respected news rooms in the country, and how this effort creates a world where the existence of trans people is questioned.” Listen to the first three episodes here.
🏳️🌈 Stage 7: Preparation — This stage is plagued with the “if we don’t get them, they’ll get us” mindset. Again, this ideology is present in other stages, but we’re bearing witness to this most often in states that have “reporting” hotlines or laws that enable citizens to report drag shows or other trans activity. We are seeing this most recently in Missouri, where Attorney General Andrew Bailey banned gender-affirming healthcare for children and adults. But he didn’t stop there. He installed a “tip line” for citizens to report “trans activity.” Watch this segment of The Humanist Report about the unfolding events.
I implore allies to be vigilant and vocal in the current state of affairs. Gender-affirming care bans will cause deaths, and so will much of the other laws and rhetoric that we’re seeing unfold.
Some Wins to Lift the Heart
❣️ The New Republic reports that teachers in Indiana cannot misgender students based on their religious beliefs.
❣️ According to the Louisiana Illuminator, LGBTQ+ teens are making their voices heard in a conservative stronghold.
❣️ A transmasculine football team in the U.K. might just bring you all the joy you need to get through these next two weeks. Read the piece in QueerAF.
Remember that your joy is your birthright, that your existence is valid, that there’s life beyond all this.
I’ll see you in two weeks.
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